Before expansion Google-owned Waymo and General Motors-owned Cruise were limited in times and areas they could operate. Cruise cars can only be accessed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Sunset, Richmond and some neighborhoods north of Market Street. Waymo was not permitted to charge for driverless rides.
Waymo can now operate its cars on roads with speed limits of up to 65 mph, and Cruise at up to 35 mph. Waymo’s new authorization includes a part of San Mateo County as well as all of San Francisco. Waymo said it has 100,000 people on its waitlist for San Francisco service. Waymo will expand over the next few weeks.
The vote was 3 yes and 1 no. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, who originally requested that the group delay their vote, voted against it. One of the yes votes was by John Reynolds who was Cruise’s top lawyer for three years.
A few in-person speakers wore yellow shirts and stickers from Safer Roads for All. The group has received financial backing from Waymo and the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association, a lobbying organization.
San Francisco Fire Department Chief Jeanine Nicholson’s said the robotaxis are not ready for prime time. Nicholson said Cruise and Waymo vehicles have intruded on emergency scenes in an unsafe and unpredictable manner. There have been dozens of incidents this year where the self driving cars nearly crashed into personnel, obstructed travel or blocked stations.
We will now find out how much police, fire and ambulance services in San Francisco will be impact by having ten times as many Cruise and Waymo vehicles in nearly unlimited operation.
We will now find out how much the systems impact traffic.
The public and the City will be closely monitoring the rollout.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.